Cork TDs return expenses
Cork politicians have returned over €16,000 in their unused expenses from last year.
Nine Cork Senators and Deputies returned a total of €16,675 in unused expenses which will go towards a reduction in the original bill of €6,041,540.76 which covers payments made to all TDs in the post-election period to cover their travel and office expenses. the expenses date from 25 February-31 December 2011 for Deputies and 26 April-31 December 2011 for Senators.
Sinn Féin TD Sandra McLellan, whose expenses amounted to €50,540.23, returned the most of all Cork TDs at €4988.34.
Fine Gael TD Jerry Buttimer said it is time that the whole system was reformed.
He said: "The whole system has changed. It's a bit different for those of us from Cork, we are in a particular band because we live so far away in comparison with some of the others so we get more because of that."
Deputy Buttimer, who returned €586.14 in expenses of the €51,179.23 he received added: "I have a strong record in attendance and I was very willing to return the money but I definitely believe that the system needs to be reformed further."
Fianna Fáil leader Micháel Martin returned €3510.02 from the €51,179.23 he received. Party leaders receive an allowance in addition to their salary and expenses.
Senator Deirdre Clune made a return of €3203.15 from €26,609.69 she received while Minister Kathleen Lynch made a return of €2635.4, 14.65 per cent of the €17,982.34 in expenses she received. At the lower end, Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney who received a Ministerial rate from 10 March-31 December 2011 gave back €37.74 of the €17,982.33 he received. Some Ministers' expenses are covered in Departmental budget and so these figures are not complete.
Cork South-West TD Noel Harrington was the highest claimant at €53,714.95 and he was not amongst the Cork TDs who returned expenses.
In all, €210,091.27 was returned by 57 of the 166 sitting TDs in unused expenses to the Leinster House Authorities. These included Education Minister Ruairí Quinn who returned €13,838.11 of the €17,543 he received while the TD with the highest returns was Labour's Kevin Humphreys who returned €15,471.84 which reduced his expenses by 48.5 per cent. Just one TD declined to claim expenses for 2011, Labour's Eamonn Maloney.